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Is Branded Content the Future of Commercial Filmmaking?

Tanner Shinnick

Give your clients the results they need with this latest trend in video production.

Cover image via Shutterstock.

Before making the switch to freelance, I worked in-house at a company for almost four years on their video marketing team. When working in-house at a corporation, you see all the different roles within a company and most importantly, you learn what everyone else expects of you. I say all of this because during my tenure there, the CEO repeated a phrase over and over again that I didn’t agree with: “Marketing works for sales, and its job is to make sales look good.”

This way of thinking may have been true in the ’90s, but markets are changing, and we as video producers must stay on top of those changes. Video marketing and commercial filmmaking no longer works for sales. Today, they work for the consumer, not the product.

For example, in the following advertisement, the product is the dominant message. The customer’s experience or entertainment are not even a consideration.

Is Branded Content the Future of Commercial Filmmaking? — Rolex Ad
Image via Adweek.

Branded Content

Branded content is the new way companies are working with content creators to establish a brand with the customer’s experience in mind. So what is branded content? Morgan Spurlock recently created a perfect example. Ice cream manufacturer Häagen-Dazs hired Spurlock to create a thirty-minute documentary about artisans. That’s it. The only reference to the company in this short documentary was its logo. What Häagen-Dazs looked to accomplish with this approach is to entertain their consumers and associate artistry with the company. They weren’t selling anything. They were merely using this outlet to express their values.

Why Is This Working?

Authenticity is one of the biggest trends in marketing right now. Every company is looking for ways to promote their values to their consumers as authentically as possible. Branded content is a non-intrusive solution for this problem. MailChimp, for example, is another company relying on branded content to promote authenticity. They hired a director from Riffraff to create a series of stylistic short films that play off of their name, like “MailShrimp.”

You can read an in-depth article here about MailChimp’s creative direction for this spot.

What Can Video Producers Do?

This is an exciting time to be a filmmaker. As companies strive to become more authentic and communicate their values without heavy-handed sales pushes, branded content gives filmmakers and video producers the opportunity to work on creative projects without the restrictions of traditional marketing videography.

Have you seen some great branded content out in the wild? Let us know in the comments below.

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